3 Steps to Creating an Organized Entryway (Even If You Don’t Have the Space)

With a little inspiration and organization, you can create an entryway that makes coming and going a breeze.

Drop zones, mudrooms, utility rooms, entryways, “places to leave your stuff.”

Whatever you call them, these spaces are a spot to kick off your shoes, drop your keys and keep everything you’ll need for the next day right where you left it.

But without organization, entryways can quickly become a clutter catch-all. Shoes usually end up piled in front of the door, and an array of backpacks, mail, dog leashes and knickknacks can quickly accumulate and crowd the space.

A dedicated, organized and stylish drop zone for all of your daily needs — and to welcome your guests — is absolutely achievable, no matter the size or design of your living space.

Try these tips to establish a functional entryway in a home of any size.

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1. Make a little room

Since it’s generally not possible to remodel or add on to a rental apartment, you must work with what you have.

Try a narrow console table for tight hallways as a place to drop your keys or leave your outgoing mail.

If space is really tight and all you have is the wall behind your door, hang hooks for coats and bags so they stay off the floor.

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Another small-space trick: Temporarily remove your coat closet’s door, and add a stool or small bench inside as a place to sit and take off your shoes — and still have room for coats.

If your apartment is inside a secure building, you may be able to leave out a basket or tray for shoes in the shared hallway.

2. Add functionality

A mirror can also go a long way in opening up and brightening tight areas by reflecting light and giving the illusion of more space.

Retailers like IKEA sell pieces that can be modified to fit narrow spaces or hung on the wall. Measure your desired entryway space, and find furniture that will make the most of the room you have.

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A dedicated space for accessories also makes your drop zone a functional center. A devoted bowl or hook to hang your keys, a folder to sort your mail, and a basket to keep your shoes in really makes a difference in the flow of your day.

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3. Leave a message

Bump practicality up a notch by having a message center in your drop zone where you can pin important reminders or leave messages for family members. It’s a great way to keep everyone connected as they go in and out.

A docking station to charge all your electronics can also be useful here. Look for compact and small accessories that will fit your space, yet serve the purpose you need.

By customizing your drop zone with features you need that will fit your home, you’ll keep everything streamlined and accessible when you need it.

 

Posted by Erica Sooter on Zillow

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Happy Puppy Drags Sprinkler Through Doggy Door, and Chaos Ensues

HOW TO TURN INSTAGRAM LIKES INTO REAL ESTATE SALES

Are you looking for a great way to reach the young, growing Millennial demographic, which has quickly become the largest generation of current homebuyers? Do you want a digital medium, which is perfect for sharing photos, listings, tips, testimonials, and video content? Then Instagram is a great social network for marketing your real estate business. Ahead, we’ll take a look at strategies for success on Instagram, along with what you can do to turn Instagram “likes” into real estate sales.

Instagram 101: How to Earn Likes and Generate Leads through Your Instagram Presence

Before you can start turning likes into sales, you’ll need to attract the right kind of attention to your Instagram page. Start on the right foot by following the key do’s and don’ts of Instagram marketing:

  • Create Your Own Content
    Your Instagram audience is interested in what you have to offer, so it’s often a good idea to use photo and video content that you create yourself. If you’re new to photo and video content, don’t worry. You don’t have to be perfect, Instagram makes it easy to get started, and you can always use professional photography when you want to show off something important.
  • Make It Mobile
    Instagram is a mobile app, so you’ll want to be well-acquainted with using your phone to shoot and share visual content.
  • Build Connections
    You don’t have to be all business, all the time on Instagram. Users of the platform will also be interested in getting a look at your life, and at what it’s like to be a real estate agent. When people comment on those posts, take the time to engage.
  • Don’t Give Up Too Soon
    It takes time to build an audience and start steadily generating leads through Instagram, so the last thing you want to do is give up before you reap the benefits. Practice, learn what your audience likes to see, and put in the time to make the most of your Instagram presence.

Turning Instagram likes into real estate sales depends partly on what you do with the platform, and partly on what you do after you have connected with prospects through Instagram.

  • Use Testimonials
    If you want to convince new prospects to choose your business, testimonials from satisfied customers are a great place to start. This is also a great way to add some video content to your Instagram page.
  • Help People Find You
    Generating sales through Instagram starts with connecting with the right audience for your business. Help users find you by using local keywords in your Instagram name, and filling out a quick bio page with all of the key details.
  • Make It Easy to Connect
    Instagram is a great place for quick comments, but selling a home requires another level of communication. Make sure that it’s easy for Instagram users to find your business, by providing contact information and links to your real estate website, as well as using relevant hashtags.
  • Look for Local Connections
    Following the Instagram pages of other local businesses and residents is a great way to increase awareness of your page, while showing that you’re a part of the community. Building local connections will help you create a network of local prospects who may be ready to move from like to sale.

 

Posted by Delta Media Group

 

Buying in 2018? 7 Steps to Take Now

With some careful prep work in the next few months, your family could be in a new home by summer.

Now is the time to get things in order for a home search next year.

If you’re thinking about buying a home in 2018, November and December are the perfect time to “warm up” for the house hunt so you can hit the ground running in the new year. And whether you’re looking in Athens, GA, or Athens, NY, the prep work is relatively the same.

We’ve asked real estate and mortgage professionals to chime in about what prospective homebuyers should do to ready themselves for buying a home. From organizing your finances to save money to finding a real estate agent and mortgage lender, there is plenty to keep you busy!

7 Steps to Be Ready to Buy a House in 2018

  1. 1. Check your credit score.

    A credit score is a numerical representation of your credit report. FICO scores range from 300 to 850, and the higher your score, the better. “Good credit is like gold when obtaining a mortgage,” says Denise Supplee, a Pennsylvania agent. Typically, you’ll get the best interest rate on a loan if your score is 740 and above. “A higher credit score should net you a lower mortgage rate,” says Lee Gimpel, co-creator of The Good Credit Game, which specializes in financial education. “That lower rate, even if it’s only 1 or 2 percent lower, can mean saving thousands of dollars per year.” If your credit score falls short, get busy repairing it. Correct any errors that might be on your report, start paying all your bills on time, and get your credit limit raised. Note, though, that you shouldn’t max out your card each month. It’s best to use 30 percent or less of your total available credit.

  2. 2. Don’t open new credit cards.

    If you think resisting taking a selfie when you’re face-to-face with your fave celebrity is a testament to your willpower, that’s sissy stuff compared with turning down every offer to open a credit card, even if you could save 20 percent (or more!) on your holiday purchases. Tempting as saving at checkout can be, opening new credit may hurt your chances of getting a mortgage, or at least of getting the best rate on a loan.

    “By opening the account, you have created another line of credit,” says Paul Anastos, president of Mortgage Master, a division of loanDepot, a nonbank lender. “That credit line, and what is borrowed, can change the application numbers and jeopardize the application.” What could save you a few dollars now could cost you far more in the long run if your mortgage payments will be higher. And along those same lines, “Don’t overspend during the holiday season,” says Dean Sioukas founder of Magilla Loans, an online lending exchange. “Especially on impulse purchases that can be tempting during the holidays.”

  3. 3. Suggest financial gifts for the holidays.

    Besides the mortgage loan, you’ll need a sizable amount of cash to buy a house. There’s the down payment to consider, closing costs, and moving costs. You should also set aside money for unexpected repairs and costs, says Brian Betzler, regional sales manager at TD Bank. Not being prepared “is probably why nearly half of millennials incurred up to $5,000 in unexpected costs during the mortgage process, according to a TD survey,” he says.

    A potential solution? Bulk up that emergency fund. “Instead of getting gifts for the holidays, [prospective homebuyers] can suggest cash instead that will be put toward their home,” says Paul Sian, a Kentucky and Ohio agent. And remember, you might be getting some money back after you file your tax return. Don’t blow it on vacation. “A tax refund is a great way to add to your cash reserves for a down payment,” says David Hosterman, branch manager of Castle & Cooke Mortgage in Colorado.

  4. 4. Interview potential real estate agents.

    If your neighbor, relative, or friend of a friend happens to know (or is) a real estate agent, that’s great. This person might be the perfect agent for you. But you owe it to yourself to shop around. “Look for [an agent] who is knowledgeable, good, integral, and can assist you in reaching the goal of homeownership,” says Chantay Bridges, a Los Angeles, CA, real estate agent. “Make sure they are not a novice, new, or just unaware of how to do a specific transaction.” The end of the year is usually a slow time for agents, so chances are they’ll be more accommodating to making an appointment on your schedule.

  5. 5. Keep tabs on interest rates.

    If you hear that interest rates are at historic lows or that interest rates are on the rise, you should not assume that you can get the rock-bottom rate. Not everyone gets the same interest rate on a mortgage loan. It depends on your financial picture and on the lender you choose. “Everyone knows that home prices are, at least to some extent, negotiable, but we find loans to be the same,” says Warren Ward, CFP with WWA Planning & Investments in Indiana. He advises that homebuyers shop around for the lowest interest rates. Note that closing costs can vary too, so discuss with your real estate agent ways to keep yours down. “We saved $150 on the closing fees by selecting the cheapest title company,” says Ward. “I guess that’s not much, but I think most people would bend over to pick up three $50 bills if they were lying on the sidewalk.”

  6. 6. Find a mortgage lender.

    Before you even start looking for a home (and yes, we even mean browsing online listings), look for a mortgage lender to find out if you can afford to buy a home. If you can’t right now, there’s no use torturing yourself by finding your dream home that’s just out of reach. But how do you find a lender? “If you have a bank you’ve been with for years, ask them,” says Bridges. “Your [real estate agent] can also refer a good lender to you. Compare [that lender] with two others. Look at what they offer, costs, points, and how long to close.” Once you know how much home you can afford, perform your home search based on your preapproval amount or less.

  7. 7. Get preapproved.

    When a lender gives your financials the once-over and preapproves you for a mortgage, you’ll be able to show sellers that you really can buy their house. But how do you get preapproved? By preparing a few documents, which you can do several months in advance of the actual purchase. Here’s what you need to buy a house.

    • Tax returns for the past two years
    • W-2 forms for the past two years
    • Paycheck stubs from the past few months
    • Proof of mortgage or rent payments for the past year
    • A list of all your debts, including credit cards, student loans, auto loans, and alimony
    • A list of all your assets, including bank statements, auto titles, real estate, and any investment accounts

    Paul Anastos also advises not to change jobs, make big purchases, or miss any debt payments as you prepare to get a mortgage.

    Originally published October 17, 2016. Updated October 30, 2017. 

    Published by Laura Agadoni on Trulia

A Housing Bubble? Industry Experts Say NO!

Housing

With residential home prices continuing to appreciate at levels above historic norms, some are questioning if we are heading toward another housing bubble (and subsequent burst) like the one we experienced in 2006-2008.

Recently, five housing experts weighed in on the question.

Rick Sharga, Executive VP at Ten-X:

“We’re definitely not in a bubble.”

“We have a handful of markets that are frothy and probably have hit an affordability wall of sorts but…while prices nominally have surpassed the 2006 peak, we’re not talking about 2006 dollars.”

Christopher Thornberg, Partner at Beacon Economics:

“There is no direct or indirect sign of any kind of bubble.”

“Steady as she goes. Prices continue to rise. Sales roughly flat.…Overall this market is in an almost boring place.”

Bill McBride, Calculated Risk:

“I wouldn’t call house prices a bubble.”

“So prices may be a little overvalued, but there is little speculation and I don’t expect house prices to decline nationally like during the bust.”

David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices:

“Housing is not repeating the bubble period of 2000-2006.”

“…price increases vary unlike the earlier period when rising prices were almost universal; the number of homes sold annually is 20% less today than in the earlier period and the months’ supply is declining, not surging.”

Bing Bai & Edward Golding, Urban Institute:

“We are not in a bubble and nowhere near the situation preceding the 2008 housing crisis.”

“Despite recent increases, house prices remain affordable by historical standards, suggesting that home prices are tracking a broader economic expansion.”

Posted by The KCM Crew

Homeowners: Do You Know Your Home’s Value?

Home Value

The latest edition of CoreLogic’s Home Price Index shows that nationally, home prices have appreciated 6.7% over the last year and 0.9% month-over-month. The release of the report included this headline,

“National Home Prices Now 50% Above March 2011 Bottom”

The real estate market has come a long way since 2011, which is great news for homeowners!

Nearly 79% of homeowners with a mortgage in the US now have significant equity in their homes (defined as over 20%), according to the latest Equity Report. The challenge is that not every homeowner knows how much their home’s value has appreciated.

Homeowners in Denver, CO lead the way with 8.7% appreciation over the last year, while owners in Washington and Utah have experienced a 3% increase in values since the start of this year!

Nationally, CoreLogic forecasts that home values will increase another 5.0% by this time next year.

Bill Banfield, VP of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans, recently explained the importance of knowing the conditions in your area,

“With home values constantly changing, and the rates of change varying across the country, this is one more way to show how important it is for homeowners to stay aware of their local housing market.”

Bottom Line

Do you know what your house is worth? Have you stayed put because you are nervous you won’t have enough equity to buy your dream home? Let’s get together to perform an equity analysis and give you the freedom to achieve your dreams.

 

Click HERE to find out how much your home is worth today!

10 Waterfront Homes Under $300,000

From quaint beach cottages to lake houses with views from every room, these homes are appealing and affordable.

Finding a budget-friendly house on the water might be easier than you think. We found listings across the country that are easy on the eye and the wallet.

Whether you’re ready to land a waterfront home or just daydream, check out these 10 homes under $300,000.

Tahoe Vista, CA

6750 N Lake Blvd #10F, Tahoe Vista, CA

For sale: $225,000

Photo from Zillow listing.

Overlooking gorgeous Lake Tahoe, this 3-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom lakefront home is available for shared ownership, giving you 6 weeks here per year. In addition to a lakefront pool, fire pit and BBQ, the Tonopalo community offers access to a luxurious spa, workout facility, sandy beach, sail boats, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and more.

See more Tahoe Vista homes for sale.

Myrtle Beach, SC

813 Golden Willow Ct, Myrtle Beach, SC
For sale: $224,500

Photo from Zillow listing.

Perfect for family fun in the sun, this spacious lakefront home has top-rated schools nearby, according to GreatSchools.org. The 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom interior includes an office and dining room, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and a breakfast nook overlooking the lake.

See more homes for sale in Myrtle Beach.

Bellingham, WA

0 Eliza Island LOT 65, Bellingham, WA
For sale: $267,000

Photo from Zillow listing.

Located on Eliza Island in breathtaking Bellingham Bay, this high-bank waterfront home has sweeping mountain, sound and bay views. Custom built with an open floor plan, vaulted ceilings, a large loft and spiral stairway, this home is stunning inside and out.

See more Bellingham homes for sale.

Darlington, MD

4400 Bryce Ln #273118, Darlington, MD
For sale: $198,450

Photo from Zillow listing.

Perched atop Broad Creek, this 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom home brings posh style to a rustic retreat. In addition to having waterfront dock access, the house includes a master suite, spacious front and back decks, and a family room perfect for entertaining.

See more Darlington homes for sale.

Sodus, NY

5537 Centenary Shrs, Sodus, NY
For sale: $157,500

Photo from Zillow listing.

Overlooking serene Lake Ontario, this 528-square-foot cottage has a spacious deck and beachfront perfect for paddling out with kayaks. The interior features an oak kitchen, fireplace and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the water.

See more listings in Sodus.

Saint Germain, WI

1583 Pine Valley Rd, St. Germain, WI
For sale: $129,000

Photo from Zillow listing.

This 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom lakefront cabin offers access to all that Little Saint Germain Lake has to offer, including 13 miles of shoreline and numerous bays and islands to explore. The property spans 8 acres with a fire pit, playground and recreation room.

See more homes for sale in Saint Germain.

Golden, MO

25391 Farm Road 2265, Golden, MO
For sale: $188,950

Photo from Zillow listing.

Situated on half an acre, this newly remodeled lakefront home has plenty of indoor and outdoor space to entertain. In addition to nicely landscaped grounds and multiple decks, its interior has vaulted pine ceilings and a modern kitchen.

See more homes for sale in Golden.

Rockwood, TN

272 Pin Oak Dr, Rockwood, TN
For sale: $275,000

Photo from Zillow listing.

Boasting panoramic views of Watts Bar Lake, this 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom property has abundant outdoor space to enjoy the scenery, including three decks with hammocks and a hot tub. Every bedroom and living area overlooks the lakefront, which is outfitted with a large covered dock and electric boat lift.

See more homes for sale in Rockwood.

Reed City, MI

9011 Lake Dr, Reed City, MI
For sale: $155,000

Photo from Zillow listing

Sporting a private sandy beach on beautiful Todd Lake, this 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom home has been updated with granite countertops and a custom wrap-around deck with sweeping lake views. Close to fishing, trails and other lakes, this home is ideal for an outdoor enthusiast.

See more listings in Reed City.

Bay Saint Louis, MS

10250 Bayou View Dr E, Bay Saint Louis, MS
For sale: $159,900

Photo from Zillow listing.

Built on an acre of land, this 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom tiny home packs a lot outside its small frame. With 200 feet of Breaths Bayou waterfront, this home is outfitted with a powered boat launch and RV pad. It’s surrounded by mature trees, including queen palms, oak and cedar.

See more listings in Bay Saint Louis.

Lead photo from Zillow listing.

 

Posted by Sharona Ott on Zillow